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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, December 22, 2006

Letters to the Editor

GOVERNMENT

OFFICIAL INCOMPETENCY REACHING NEW HEIGHT?

Your Dec. 17 paper could have read: "Is Rome (Honolulu) burning?"

The fiasco with long-term vacant federally funded housing is unconscionable while able-bodied men should be required to work, the plight of the homeless cannot be overlooked.

The current transit debate and decisionmaking are no better than a roll of the dice. Tax increases are made by the seat of the pants and based on hazy projections.

Copper theft appears to be an unsolvable dilemma until steal-proof means are devised. Has anyone thought of putting the kibosh on the scrap buyers, including undercover?

Why is it that a police car is seldom seen on patrol, yet, as an example, one goes past the Kane'ohe station at any time and can see at least 10 cars sitting around it. The same is true at other stations. I guess we must have too many police cars.

And despite the Board of Education, Hawai'i continues to rank in the bottom 10 among states.

In the meantime, construction contracts are given to firms that have been fined for illegal political contributions.

With these examples, how can any O'ahu resident believe that our political leaders and those who manage the bureaucracy are not largely incompetent?

Paul Miller
Kane'ohe

MASS TRANSIT ON THE MINDS OF OUR READERS

OFFERING UH CLASSES ONLINE CAN CUT TRAFFIC

Mark Dyer's commentary on traffic (Island Voices, Dec. 18) demonstrates the unusual ability to think outside the box. One way to reduce traffic is to extend the hours that the University of Hawai'i-Manoa campus is used by offering some classes earlier and later in the day. In addition, more instructors and courses could be located at regional campuses to decentralize Manoa.

Most of all, more faculty and students could work online from home. A far larger number of courses could be offered totally or at least partially online. This would reduce traffic, decrease time wasted in commuting, save gasoline, which inevitably will only increase in price, and reduce environmental impact.

In the Information Age of the 21st century, more employees who use computers in their offices for a significant portion of their jobs could work from home at least a few days of the workweek. Likewise, working hours as well as days could be staggered more.

However, these and other outside-the-box solutions will not sit well with those in business and government who stand to profit from rail.

Les Sponsel
Professor, University of Hawai'i-Manoa

BE WARY OF ANYTHING POLITICIANS SUPPORT

Virtually every time one hears the mayor speak about mass transit, one hears that the governor is for it, the Legislature is for it, the entire congressional delegation is for it and seven out of nine City Council members are for it. This alone should make the taxpayer very wary of something that all of these politicians are for.

Remember, almost the entire Congress was for the war in Iraq. Also, keep in mind these people do not always have your best interest at heart. Next time you have a chance, ask one of these lawmakers when was the last time they proposed legislation that benefited the average, middle-class taxpayer. Ask them if they would drop the tax on food and medicine. Also, ask why not one rail proponent, including the mayor, would debate Cliff Slater.

Jim Quimby
Manoa

TRANSIT PLANS RAISE QUESTIONS, CONCERNS

I was wondering, with all the controversy about the rail system, what became of the ferry system that was proposed a while back.

Also, where are they planning to put platforms and parking for catching the rail? Is a platform going to exist at every stop, or is it going to be like a bus stop? What happens if we lose power? Will all the riders be stuck up in the air? And finally, what happens if there is a derailment?

These are some of the things that popped up in my mind. I probably won't see it happen in my lifetime, as it will take at least 10 to 20 years. During that time there are going to be traffic delays and construction, which will cause detours and long lines.

These are some of the things your readers might discuss in the near future, because City Councilman Romy Cachola did not answer my concerns; nor did the mayor or governor ... past and present.

Earl Tanioka
Salt Lake

'EWA NEEDS AT LEAST A DEDICATED SPUR ROUTE

Councilmember Ann Kobayashi's transit route from East Kapolei to Manoa is commendable, but her proposed route would bypass 'Ewa, a community of 70,000. This is not acceptable under any circumstance.

It is forecast that by 2020 the 'Ewa population will increase to 140,000. Traffic during the morning and afternoon rush hour is already a nightmare. Without transit alternatives, this trend will go from bad to worse.

If the preferred route is to bypass 'Ewa, the alternative is to build a dedicated spur route that runs along the entire Fort Weaver Road corridor from North Road to Waipahu Transit Center.

Four stations with a dedicated park-and-ride feature can be spaced about one mile apart at North, Keone'ula, Geiger, and Renton roads. Shuttle buses can connect each neighborhood to the nearest transit station, or commuters can simply drive to the nearest transit station and ride the rail into town or Kapolei.

This alternative certainly has its merit. If this system is done properly, I believe that it will not only be attractive, but in the long run it will benefit the entire 'Ewa community. Sorry Waikiki, but I think 'Ewa is more deserving of a spur route than you.

David Cabatu
Kapahulu

SHORTER TRANSIT ROUTE IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER

Councilmember Ann Koba-yashi has said about a fixed separated guideway for transit: "You wouldn't even know there was a train up there or a bus" (Advertiser, Dec. 15) What also needs to be said is that there would be a huge difference after a bus comes down off the right-of-way and continues to destinations. Transfers wipe out most of the advantages and convenience touted for rail.

Further, the proposed shorter rail route is a recipe for disaster. It begins and ends before reaching where most riders need to go. Commuters will struggle to get off the train and on to other modes of transportation. It will take a lot of expensive real estate, which we don't have, to accommodate loading and parking near station entrances.

If we are going to spend all this money wisely, I believe that ride times and travel experience will be much better on a transit system that uses rubber tire technology on the exclusive right-of-way portions of the route, and can also travel on ordinary existing streets. Extensions of the route on the surface can be economically changed to go where needed.

William Kibby
Manoa

THERE'S NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT BUILD IT NOW

We need it now. There is no question about it. The longer we have these discussions and talks, the longer it takes to build. Geographically we are similar to Japan (in the sense that) the islands are too small for their populations. We are too dependent on our cars, and it has been that way for way too long. Once we find out that we can go to school or to work via rail, a lot of other problems will disappear.

What do we need to talk about? Now is the time ... build it and we will use it.

Curtis Lee
Salt Lake

RAIL OFFERS GOOD FUTURE FOR HAWAI'I RESIDENTS

I'm a Hawai'i transplant living in the D.C. area for graduate school. I do not have a car but that is OK, I have the Metro system.

A typical weekday for me is walking from my apartment to Metro, paying $2.35 to get to my internship. With stops, the commute only takes me 20 minutes to go the equivalent of about seven miles. While this may not seem much, if I were to drive, it would take me more than 30 minutes, plus the cost of parking downtown.

I leave my internship around 5 p.m. to head to a 7 p.m. class on campus. Switching Metro lines, I pay $2.70 with travel time of about 30 minutes. The school has a free shuttle, adding 10 minutes for a total travel time of 40 minutes. Also, a parking permit on campus starts at $96 a year.

This was a dramatic change in my lifestyle from Hawai'i: driving to school, grocery store, the mall and the movies. In the D.C. area, I walk and ride the Metro. The bus system complements the Metro.

For Hawai'i, I can see the possibilities for good with a rail system. I hope the City Council has the leadership to see into the future for Hawai'i as well.

Ruby Marcelo
Silver Spring, Md.

2006 RACE

FUKUNAGA CAMPAIGN SPENDING CLARIFIED

This is to clarify the Honolulu Advertiser story (Dec. 18) regarding my campaign expenditures.

A substantial part 25 percent of the more than $180,000 in campaign expenditures reported for this period was to retire a campaign debt of more than $45,000 incurred during the 2002 elections.

The statement about being unopposed is erroneous. In Senate District 11, I faced challengers in each of the past two election cycles: 2006 (Republican challenger, Philip Meyers) and 2002 (Republican challenger, Casey Choi).

As was reported in the paper, campaign expenditures for elected officials representing urban areas tend to be higher because of the number of condominium buildings, which limit door-to-door campaigning.

Consequently, my 2006 expenditures are consistent with other contested Senate races or those in which door-to-door campaigning is precluded, and the retirement of an outstanding debt from the 2002 election cycle.

State Sen. Carol Fukunaga
D-11th (Makiki, Pawa'a)

GREEN LINE IS BEST OPTION FOR RAIL SYSTEM

The City and County of Honolulu is on the verge of taking perhaps its boldest step in many decades. We want to commend the council for having the courage to take action on building a rail transit system for Honolulu.

However, more courage is needed. We ask the City Council to reconsider the route alignment and to support the Floor Draft Amendment (Bill 79 CD-2 FD-1) that identifies the locally preferred alternative as the best choice for Honolulu.

The 'Ewa and Kapolei/Makakilo/Honokai Hale neighborhood boards support this alignment along the Saratoga/North-South Road (or "Green Line"), as do many leaders from Leeward communities, declaring it the "people's route."

We, the undersigned, stand together behind this option. Why? The Green Line:

  • Has the highest projected ridership.

  • Best serves 'Ewa's existing housing and commercial uses, as well as where most of the future development on O'ahu will occur.

  • Is primarily undeveloped land, resulting in the fewest condemnations and greatest construction ease.

  • Has the greatest potential to allow new development tailor-made for the area.

  • Leverages the 200 acres of land the city will receive from the U.S. Navy that lies adjacent to the alignment.

    We encourage our leaders to do the right thing and vote yes on Bill 79 CD-2 FD-1. With their leadership and support we can create a transit system that will enhance Honolulu's status as a world-class city and greatly improve the quality of residents' lives.

    Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; DR Horton-Schuler Homes; Ewa by Gentry Community Association; Ewa Villages Association; Gentry Homes; Gentry Investment Properties; Haseko; Hoakalei Cultural Foundation; The Salvation Army; University of Hawai'i-West O'ahu; Daniel Dinell, executive director, Hawai'i Community Development Authority; Kurt Fevella, Ewa Neighborhood Board chair; Stanton Enomoto, former director of planning and development-Kalaeloa, HCDA; Maeda Timson, Kapolei/Makakilo/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board chair; Richard Dunn, Ocean Pointe Residential Community Association